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Denel Dynamics is leading Project Sabela to design and manufacture local ventilators to support the treatment of the coronavirus (Covid-19) patients in public and private hospitals.

Under the project, two ventilators have completed the design and layout phases.

The simulation exercises to test the efficacy of the two ventilator projects are expected to commence soon.

Launched in early April, Project Sabela uses South African engineers, scientists, researchers, and technicians to design, develop and manufacture low-cost, fit-for-purpose ventilators.

Denel Group CEO Danie du Toit said: “We are optimistic about the potential to produce a low-cost, entry-level ventilator that can be used by the medical profession as the number of patients increase and the response levels are ramped up in the coming weeks.”

Using off-the-shelf hardware, the research team has built a prototype Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) device.

Currently, the prototype is undergoing tests and evaluation. Following this, a second design meeting the criteria for medical ventilators will be developed.

The ventilators will be manufactured at scale within South Africa.

Separately, Denel Land Systems is producing a complete functional ventilator using materials that can be easily sourced.

For this, the company is part of a team led by Cambridge University’s Whittle Laboratory, Cambridge Aerothermal, Beko PLC, Prodrive UK and Defy Appliances.

Together, the team will develop a low-cost ventilator called the OVSI. It is to meet the ventilator requirements of patients at field hospitals, during transport, in normal hospitals and intensive care units.